Issue Position: Transportation
* I believe we need to look at transportation policy in a comprehensive way-that it is not just about paving roads and widening highways, but also includes rapid transit, rail, and alternative modes of transportation.
* The federal government must carry its weight as a partner in financing the interstate highway system, the Federal Aviation Administration, and funding long-term improvements.
* Our security depends on the safety and security of our transportation networks, and we must make the protection of our roads, bridges, ports, and airways a national priority.
As a state legislator and as a Congressman I have taken an active role in addressing Colorado's transportation needs. I believe we need to look at transportation policy in a comprehensive way - that is not just about paving roads and widening highways, but also includes rapid transit, rail, and alternative modes of moving people and goods. As a Member of the Science Committee, I have also been focused on improving the security, safety and efficiency of our nation's aviation system.
While road building and maintenance are, for the most part, a matter of state policy, the federal government is a partner in financing the interstate highway system, the Federal Aviation Administration, and in funding many long-term improvements. I have worked hard to fight for Colorado's fair share of federal highway dollars and have always participated in the Denver Chamber of Commerce's annual Transportation Summit, where Colorado's federal transportation priorities are discussed.
In Congress, I have been involved in securing funding for a wide-range of projects that benefit our state and our economy including:
* $6.7 million to replace the Jefferson County Airport Air Traffic Control Tower;
* $5.6 million for the Colorado Transit Coalition for Statewide Bus and Bus Facilities;
* $131.56 million for the Southeast Corridor Light Rail and $75 million for the West Corridor Light Rail;
* $1.1 million for the U.S. 36/Wadsworth Interchange reconstruction in Broomfield;
* $350,000 for runway expansion and repaving at the Eagle County Airport.
I believe our long-range transportation planning has to include investments in alternative modes of transportation. I have supported alternative transportation programs like rapid transit in the Roaring Fork Valley between Aspen and Basalt, light rail transit in the Denver-metro area, and the Hop and Skip in Boulder. I will continue to support alternative transportation projects that help reduce our dependence on automobiles because doing so not only enhances our quality of life; it also creates diversity in our economy and lessens our dependence on oil.
Improving highway safety and security has been a major focus for me in Congress. While in Congress, I have been working to secure funding for the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. Rail Tunnel Security Project. The Rail Tunnel Security Project would provide funding to create a center where transportation security experts from around the world can research and develop solutions to prevent or respond to terrorist attacks on our rails and tunnels. The Center would also be used for training and equipping first responders. I have also been working to secure support for a program in the Federal Aviation Administration that would provide more security and better service at our mountain airports. Our mountain airports are vulnerable because mountain surveillance radar coverage is inadequate. I support legislation that would remedy this security gap by implementing so-called "Wide Area Multilateration" radar systems. Finally, I am a co-sponsor of the Safe American Roads Act of 2007. This bill would hold long-haul trucks arriving from Mexico to the same safety and inspection standards that the Department of Transportation requires for American trucks.
Perhaps our biggest transportation problem at the federal level is the question of efficiency, safety and security at our nation's airports and our growing need to improve air traffic control systems. Denver International Airport (DIA) is the fourth busiest airport in the country, yet it suffers from inadequate security staffing and long waiting times during peak travel periods. It should be possible to provide adequate security without creating a negative travel experience for Colorado's visitors and residents. That is why I, with the Colorado Delegation, wrote a letter to the director of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requesting that the agency provide additional screeners for DIA, especially during peak travel times.
I have also been a strong supporter of the development of an updated air traffic control system. I introduced the Federal Aviation Research and Development Act of 2007 (H.R.2698). The bill, which passed the House and Senate in 2007 as part of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act, will provide funds for research and development intended to ensure that the nation's air transportation system is able to handle the expected growth in future air travel demand over the next twenty years. The legislation would also strengthen the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) charged with managing the development of a major renovation of our current air transportation system. The so-called Next Generation (NextGen) initiative promises to modernize our air traffic control system so that it is safe and secure for future travelers.